TOKYO-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced on 17th April that the second of Japan's first two LNG-fueled ferries, the Sunflower Murasaki, owned by MOL and operated by its group company Ferry Sunflower Co., Ltd., entered service on April 14. The vessel is a sister ship to the Sunflower Kurenai, which began operation in January, and will ply the Osaka-Beppu route between Sunflower Ferry Terminal and Beppu International Tourist Port as a replacement for the existing vessel Sunflower Cobalt.
Compared to earlier ferries, the new vessel offers greater transport capacity and convenience for both cargo and passenger transport. In freight transportation, it has greater capacity to load trucks and provides a larger, more comfortable room for truck drivers. The new ferry is intended to promote and enhance the company's "Casual Cruise Concept".
The vessel adopts the latest environmentally friendly specifications including a high-performance dual-fuel engine, which can run on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. The use of LNG fuel is expected to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 25%, and sulphur oxide (SOx) by virtually 100%.
The ferry company plans to operate a total of four LNG-fuelled ferries-adding two in 2025 to replace current vessels in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai.